Well . . . there's no flies on you, son, that's for sure] The old home town looks the same and sure wasn't it lovely having the opportunity to 'spot the location' in Family, appropriately titled given the year it's in (Year of the Family, Up the Pope]).

Having spent many happy years traipsing through the baldy patches of land that we tell our horses are the Green Fields of Ireland and looking on the Flats as 'them big tings in de way of de planes', it was great to see them in all their glory, on the quadraphonic Trinitron in my inner-city living-room.

Ah Jaysus, the Flats] Many's the time I cursed the same multistorey egg boxes as I climbed the 12 flights of stairs, dodging strategically placed prams, to the womb-like warmth of a mate's gaff. Im sure Charlo's delighted he lives beside the Flats and not in them - can ye imagine carrying them dogs they're after robbing up them stairs 'cause the lift was broken again? You'd throw them out the window by the time you'd got to the top]

But seriously, lookit, I think you did a great job on the first two episodes and I hope the rest of it is as good. Don't mind all them eejits ringing up Gay Byrne and Gerry Ryan telling them it isn't real and it isn't right to have the like of that on the 46-inch in your living-room. What do they want to see . . . episodes of Dollywatch from one end of the week to the other? (Ah Jaysus, young ones running around in their swimsuits in slow motion with their kabongas all over the place. Give us a break]) Sure there's fellas like Charlo on the streets all over Dublin, and not just in Ballymun. I know he's a complete bastard, but you still managed to make me feel sorry for him, the aul' bollix. I loved the bit where he gave a tip to a fella working in the pub and said: 'Buy a house in Cabra with that. Or better still - buy two, they're small]' It's nice to see there's still room for your sense of humour on the mantelpiece beside your Booker Prize]

Aren't Irish actors great all the same? Even the kids, Rodser, were brilliant. Just a look they gave, or what they didn't say that said so much. I suppose that director fella knew what he wanted without pushing the violence too far. Even at that simple moment where the young fella reaches for his inhaler after the blow-up between Charlo and Paula, I found myself feeling most uncomfortable with how real it was. Sure, isn't reality a great thing for getting the blood going] Eight hundred years of oppression, we'd know all about that now, wouldn't we, son?

Anyway, just wanted to drop ye an aul' line to let you know how tings were hotting up for you round here. Looking forward now to seeing how the rest of it turns out and ye can rely on us to be glued to the telly for the next couple of weeks. Keep up the good work.

Hope Belinda and the kids are keepin' well. Take care of yerself.

God Bless.

(Photograph omitted)

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